Sunday, March 14, 2010

Now...where was I?

Yeah...now I remember...I am now a delighted Motorworks Restorations customer!

In case there's still any doubt, I'm picky, always insisting on my money's worth. Just like everyone else. Primary reason I took my car to Motorworks in the first place. Some of you have seen their work take home the 1st Place Awards at The VW Classic in Southern California, or possibly other shows in Colorado. Maybe elsewhere. So my expectations were high going in, and perhaps made me difficult to deal with during the bodywork and paint process. No apologies, there. I now want to assure all that the finished results exceeded all expectations. All I'm waiting for now is a bottle of touch-up paint...because I will end up damaging paint during the assembly process.

So, the craft is once again out in the garage, this time resting on wheel casters to make it easier to move about. The finish is polished to the severest depths, proudly wearing a fresh sheet of Meguire's NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0 Paste. I didn't specify this wax be used, but if I had it would have been at the top of the list. Techwax is really awesome stuff and I used it last summer to freshen up the original 45 year old paint on the wife's Type 14 Ghia. I also used it just last night on her '93 Nissan Sentra SE-R, so it helps any finish. Again--highly recommended.

The Nautilus' absence did not stop other restoration related activities, however. An opportunity to acquire improved brightwork for the craft occurred about 4 weeks ago when a bona-fide-NOS-in-the-box Type 34 foglight popped up on der Samba. Flash traffic from tipster Rob Kingbury set pursuit into full-on take-down and acquisition. Despite my best intentions, I still would have not brought home the chrome without the kind and timely assistance of fellow 1500 Club Alumist, Charles Harlock. With the part located in England and a seller with no Paypal account, this transaction could have quickly degenerated, sounding a death-knell for a smooth and secure global transaction. Fortunately, Mr. Harlock deftly brokered the purchase and I received the part last week, sans further drama.

Never before had I seen a NOS in the box Type 34 foglight. Breathtaking. Even with my apparent enthusiasm, my wife appeared far more excited about its arrival than I. Some time ago, I received a pair of NOS Type 34 foglight lenses from Germany that were genuine Hella--but were plastic, rather than the expected glass. Imagine my dismay. Having remembered this, my wife immediately took this new and unshrouded NOS assembly and knocked the lens gently against her upper front teeth, and promptly informed me the lens was made of glass. Have I mentioned before what a jewel of a wife I have??? Probably not often enough, because despite all, her support for the Nautilus has remained constant, throughout. And she cares almost as much as I about getting the details just right.

Anyway, foglights are just one in a long line of NOS Type 34 parts that I'd categorize as really scarce. Over the past 7 years I've located NOS headlight rings, headlight adjuster assemblies, front and rear signal housings, and nose badges. With sincere regret, I've passed on horrifically priced rocker trim, sill plates, roof drip rail trim and bumper parts, opting to restore what I have, rather than take out a 2nd Mortgage. While I have been able to locate two NOS foglight rings and a pair of those less-than-cool plastic foglight lenses, I have only this once had the opportunity to acquire a complete NOS foglight assembly. While I'd really like to find another, I seriously think I've run my luck by managing to secure the one I did. I have to say that it could be worse...I could be trying to find the badging for an early '62 Type 34.

With the rarity of these things, I guess I could add a few words about it. First of all, it's a late unit, indicated by the plastic bulb holder and the flat profile of the bulb holder keeper spring. The label on the back of the reflector is a paper label, rather than a blue stamp. It was good to get confirmation on there being five springs holding the lens to the main housing to the chrome foglight ring, which corresponds to number indicated in the parts book. On this example, three clips are used at the top of the chrome ring, two clips are used towards the bottom. The finish on these spring clips are black oxide, which explains why they don't always hold up well over time. The spares I have were all really rusty originally, but are now very nice and all plated in zinc. This may allow them to last longer when used in rebuilt foglight assemblies.
To those just becoming acquainted with the Type 34, get ready for some very Porsche 356'esque pricing on the extremely desirable rare stuff. Some of the parts are shared with the other early Type 3 cars, adding to their rarity. All things considered, I could probably have done a nice 356 sunroof car for the price I've paid so far to get my car as far as I have. Was it a good decision...? I love the car. It's been fun chasing parts. The Type 34 is starting to come into its own. Time will tell about the resale/collector value of the car. Regardless, it'll be a hell of a lot of fun to drive this very unique car, once it's back on the road. I can't wait for the onslaught of "Nice Covair!" comments.
I'd like to raise a nice dram of 10 year old Ardbeg to those just getting started and offer my sincerest best wishes in your restoration efforts. Slainte!

1 comment:

Irungu Mbirua said...

Like your attachment to Volkswagens.I share the same with you though mine has to do with a childhood neighbour.Got myself a dilapidated type 3 squareback in 2008 that I'm just about to finish restoration.Hope to share experiences and pics with you and other VW enthusiasts.